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Was I losing my marbles?

A posthumous interview with Merlin Carothers

Foundations of Praise

Merlin Carothers

Contact: P.O. Box 2518, Escondido, CA 92033 760-741-2755 www.foundationofpraise.org

Mailing List Members: 30,000

Founder: Merlin Carothers (1924-2013)

Born: Coal Country in Pennsylvania

Formation: Marion College, Marion, IN; Asbury Seminary, Wilmore, KY

Years Ordained: 40

Ed. Note: The late Merlin Carothers and his autobiography Prison to Praise are well-known throughout the Christian community. Having sold over 19,000,000 copies of his 18 books (each translated into 59 foreign languages), Carothers is the first author to have three books listed simultaneously as top ten-bestsellers on the National Christian Bookseller Association’s list. His responses to this week’s Sheep and Goats interview are excerpts from Prison to Praise unless otherwise indicated.

San Diego Reader: What is your favorite subject on which to preach?

Merlin Carothers: I have come to believe that the prayer of praise is the highest form of communion with God, and one that always releases a great deal of power into our lives. Praising Him is not something we do because we feel good; rather it is an act of obedience.

SDR: Why did you become a minister?

MC: It seemed that God had His plans for me all set. I couldn’t sleep nights, and the longer I thought and prayed, the more exciting the whole idea became. If God could make a preacher of out an ex-jailbird, paratrooper, gambler, and black-marketeer, that would be a greater adventure into the unknown than anything I’d every tried before.

SDR: What is the mission of your foundation?

MC: Now that I have graduated to Heaven, my prayer is that as a non-profit organization, it will carry on for many years. I hope and pray that many thousands of praise books will continue to be printed and read for years and years to come [from a letter Carothers wrote before his death].

SDR: Where is the strangest place you found God?

HC: One Sunday evening shortly after getting back from Germany [at the end of World War II], I went to see Grandmother and Grandfather. I quickly realized I’d made a mistake. They were getting ready to go to church….It was getting close to church time, and I couldn’t say to my grandparents: “I just don’t want to go.” At the zero hour I had no choice. Off we went together. The church service was held in a barn, but everyone there seemed happy. Poor people, I thought, they don’t know anything about real life out there in the world, or they wouldn’t waste an evening in a barn. The singing began and I picked up a hymn book to follow the words. At least I had to look as if I was with it. Suddenly I heard a deep voice speak directly to my ear. “What-what did you say?” I whirled around to find no one behind me. There was the voice again: “Tonight you must make a decision for Me. If you don’t, it will be too late….” Was I losing my marbles? But the voice was real. It was God, and He knew me! In a flash I suddenly saw it…. God was real; He was the answer. In Him was everything I had ever searched for.

SDR: Where do you go when you die?

MC: Satan wants to lure into sin every person created in God’s image and then see them eternally separated from Him. But God has His own plan. He wants to prepare us for an eternity with Him and will allow anything that He knows will help us reach that goal. [from June 2006 message].

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Foundations of Praise

Merlin Carothers

Contact: P.O. Box 2518, Escondido, CA 92033 760-741-2755 www.foundationofpraise.org

Mailing List Members: 30,000

Founder: Merlin Carothers (1924-2013)

Born: Coal Country in Pennsylvania

Formation: Marion College, Marion, IN; Asbury Seminary, Wilmore, KY

Years Ordained: 40

Ed. Note: The late Merlin Carothers and his autobiography Prison to Praise are well-known throughout the Christian community. Having sold over 19,000,000 copies of his 18 books (each translated into 59 foreign languages), Carothers is the first author to have three books listed simultaneously as top ten-bestsellers on the National Christian Bookseller Association’s list. His responses to this week’s Sheep and Goats interview are excerpts from Prison to Praise unless otherwise indicated.

San Diego Reader: What is your favorite subject on which to preach?

Merlin Carothers: I have come to believe that the prayer of praise is the highest form of communion with God, and one that always releases a great deal of power into our lives. Praising Him is not something we do because we feel good; rather it is an act of obedience.

SDR: Why did you become a minister?

MC: It seemed that God had His plans for me all set. I couldn’t sleep nights, and the longer I thought and prayed, the more exciting the whole idea became. If God could make a preacher of out an ex-jailbird, paratrooper, gambler, and black-marketeer, that would be a greater adventure into the unknown than anything I’d every tried before.

SDR: What is the mission of your foundation?

MC: Now that I have graduated to Heaven, my prayer is that as a non-profit organization, it will carry on for many years. I hope and pray that many thousands of praise books will continue to be printed and read for years and years to come [from a letter Carothers wrote before his death].

SDR: Where is the strangest place you found God?

HC: One Sunday evening shortly after getting back from Germany [at the end of World War II], I went to see Grandmother and Grandfather. I quickly realized I’d made a mistake. They were getting ready to go to church….It was getting close to church time, and I couldn’t say to my grandparents: “I just don’t want to go.” At the zero hour I had no choice. Off we went together. The church service was held in a barn, but everyone there seemed happy. Poor people, I thought, they don’t know anything about real life out there in the world, or they wouldn’t waste an evening in a barn. The singing began and I picked up a hymn book to follow the words. At least I had to look as if I was with it. Suddenly I heard a deep voice speak directly to my ear. “What-what did you say?” I whirled around to find no one behind me. There was the voice again: “Tonight you must make a decision for Me. If you don’t, it will be too late….” Was I losing my marbles? But the voice was real. It was God, and He knew me! In a flash I suddenly saw it…. God was real; He was the answer. In Him was everything I had ever searched for.

SDR: Where do you go when you die?

MC: Satan wants to lure into sin every person created in God’s image and then see them eternally separated from Him. But God has His own plan. He wants to prepare us for an eternity with Him and will allow anything that He knows will help us reach that goal. [from June 2006 message].

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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